June 1992 to November 1993
June 1992 to November 1993
Our Mission, served when we were both older, as a Senior Couple, was the highlight of our lives. We left the farm in the care and management of Jono, our youngest, trusting him and the farm to the Lord, and went to the Mission we were first called, the Sierra Leone Mission in Africa. We were very anxious to go there, as friends of ours were serving there and we had been envious of their call to go there, so we were a little apprehensive but grew to be ecstatic over getting to go there too. While we were at the M.T.C. the Missionary Committee called one day and said we would not be able to go to Africa because of conflict with medication necessary in Africa and certain medications Ed was taking. We were very disappointedd and cried and begged but they wouldn't let us go there to "Our Mission". They read off some available placed we could go (Ed and I were on different phones talking to them) and when they said Frankfurt, Germany we both immediately knew that was the Mission for us. It turned out to be the most enjoyable and wonderful (though very hard and discouraging at times) Mission we could have been sent to.
It was a proselyting Mission and we worked with and taught and fellowshipped mostly American Servicemen and their wives and familes, but we also taught many of their friends who lived in their Apartment buildings. We also set up Displays in the Pedestrian Zones in shopping centers and stopped and talked with anyone who spoke English, and made appointments to give them discussions, if we could. Sometimes we got to, other times they gave us fictitious names of addresses or weren't there when we went. Other times, some would set us up and have their Minister or "Anti-Mormon" expert at their home when we went and all we could do was bear strong and fervent testimony of the truth and hope they felt the Spirit.
We never had a car to drive. We used the public transportation system, which was excellent, bus or train and got pretty good at finding our way around. Ir was difficult at first because we didn't have a companion who had been there awhile and knew their way around. We just had each other and a map, a foreign country and foreign language...but we learned soon...enough to get by. We lived in apartments on the fourth or fifth floor with no elevators. We had to buy all our groceries and ride the bus or walk to our apartment, then carry them up four or five flights.
I lost my scriptures on the train going to a Zone Conference in Frankfurt. (We lived and served in Mainz and Wiesbaden, across the Rhein River from each other.) I was heartsick. Everything I had learned in all my life and years of teaching Seminary was written in that book! The Elders and Sisters bought me another set of scriptures and as I was marking them I came across a scripture that said my scriptures woudl be "preserved in safety" and I felt, and knew, that verse was a message to me, personally. I had given up hope I would ever get them back as the weeks turned into months. But, after three months, the train station called and said they had found my Bible.
We had received the promise in the M.T.C. that if we would take care of the Lord's "children", He would take care of ours. Then one day Jono wrote and said most of the cotton crops in Queen Creek were being eaten and destroyed, on-third to one-half, by the Whitefly. We remembered the promise, and prayed for a miracle. Jono wrote later that for some reason, our crop seemed to be in a little "pocket" that wasn't hurt by the Whitefly, and it turned out to be the best crop ever raised on the farm. The crop WAS in the Lord's hands and He protected it. It WAS a miracle.
We loved the Missionaries...the Elders AND the Sisters. They were at out house many times, almost always after Saturady mornings at the Fussganger (the Pedestrian Zone) for beans or spaghetti or soup or whatever and we enjoyed their visits tremendously. At times, when we had had a disappointing non-productive day, and wondering what good we were doing there...the Elders would show up at our door and we'd share experiences and soon be laughing and buoyed up in the Spirit again, ready and eager for another day.
We loved teaching the discussions, and especially to the Africans who were there as refugees from Africa. We loved them and felt our first call to go to Africa, was somewhat fulfilled.
We loved the Servicemen and their families...they were the most dedicated and strong and knowledgeable in the Gospel, and strong of Spirit, of anyone we have ever known. They were great Bishops and Counselors, Stake Presidents and Relief Society presidents. It was our great privilege to live among them and associate with them and we have great respect of the Military now. They treated us as their own and invited us to their homes continually.
The Gospel is true. It has been restored to the earth and it was our great blessing to have been privileged to serve a Mission..especially to Germany, and it is our hope, and prayer, that every one of our Grandsons (and maybe a few of our Granddaughters if it works out that way) will serve Missions and have this great experience of sharing the Gospel to others who don't have what we have. WE ARE SO VERY BLESSED!!!